365 days are a lot of time. And while it’s great to live them to the full, day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, it’s always nice to take a break and look back (with or without anger, your choice) and see what you’ve done with that time. I did this exercise last year and it proved to be one of the most challenging blog posts I ever wrote. It also proved to be quite a viral endeavor, “infecting” dozens of blogs with similar lists. So, without further ado, here’s what I did in 2010. In no particular order.
1. Wrote 4 Ebooks In One Month
Ok, this was part of a challenge with my friend and fellow blogger Steven Aitchison. I agree the books were largely based on some of the most popular blog posts and that made the task a little bit easier. But the whole process was fun and I learned a lot about how to measure your effort when starting such a task.
2. Got Featured On Lifehacker. Twice
First post was about and How To Be The Best Version Of Yourself and the second one was How To Defrag Your Mind In 5 Easy Steps. Got an incredible spike in the number of visitors and a lot of hosting problems associated with it which ultimately made me change my hosting to Rackspace Cloud.
3. Coached A Banker About Blogging
Or so I thought. In fact, I didn’t coach anyone, I just had the privilege to meet an authentic and valuable person. I was the one inspired and motivated after we met. He runs one of the largest banks in Romania. How we met is not relevant anymore. What is relevant is that, after almost 9 months, he’s still on the track with his blog. And he does a great job, being known as the blogging banker.
4. Launched my first iPhone App
Surprisingly enough this wasn’t iAdd, which is the most complex and polished app I wrote so far, but a small game called iFlipEm Lite. I confess now that the game took only 15 hours of coding (including some learning of Lua). I used this app mainly to learn and test the AppStore submission process.
5. Created An iPhone App In 30 Days
Yes, this one is iAdd, the app based on my own productivity framework, called Assess-Decide-Do. It was one of the most consuming and frustrating 30 days challenges I ever had, and one with enormous implications, and I’m not talking about the business part of it. I plan to write an extensive article on that because it involves some very interesting facts about our brain and how we use it.
6. Launched my first iPad app
That was a (slightly modified) version of iAdd, my flagship app for iOS. Took some time to familiarize myself with the iPad environment but in the end I made it. Syncing with Dropbox actually made sense, now that you have at least two devices to use the app. And yes, you can buy it in the AppStore.
7. Had My First Post Translated To Japanese
Of course, it was 100 Ways To Live A Better Life. A big surprise as I’ve was always been keen on Japanese culture. The surprise grew even bigger when I contacted the translator and found out the she (yes, is a “she”) started her very blog as a result of reading that post. And that the translation was an act of gratitude.
8. Became A Regular Contributor To SharingLifeSkills
It’s a collaborative project started by my friend Jonathan Wells. I am in an incredible good company there, some of the most important voices in the self-improvement blogging niche have joined forces into this one. I highly recommend you to subscribe to this newsletter.
9. Became A Contributor For The Daily Brainstorm
One of Leo Babauta’s brain children, The Daily Brainstorm aims at giving a daily snapshot of what;s happening in the blogging world. There are over 100 contributors from various topics. Again, my feed was selected on the self-improvement area. I’m honored and proud to be there.
10. Turned 40
And enjoyed it tremendously. For some reason, this event highly challenged all my assumptions about numbers. And introduced me to the fine art of new beginnings.
11. My Non-compete Agreement Ended
This isn’t something I did, of course, but it’s something with a tremendous importance for my social life. I was able to reinsert myself into the local business circle and start working on new projects. On the other hand, having and obeying to a non-compete agreement was one of the most important things that happened to me.
12. Practiced With A Magic Fairy
It’s not what you think. It’s just a form of clarifying your goals, with a touch of humor. During 2010 I experienced a lot of this “magic fairy got it all backwards” stuff, so I thought it would be a good idea to share the whole exercise. You can find it here and prepare for the unexpected.
13. Been On Board At A Startup Weekend Event
This event gathers together entrepreneurs in the online field and aims to create a complete workable app in a 48 hours time frame. Been also a member of the jury. Had to mentor projects and give advice to the attendees, evaluate the pitches and pick a winner. It has been a very interesting business experience.
14. Started A 6 Months Consulting Project
Which will continue in 2011 as well. By far the longest one I ever had and one that is going really well. After acting exclusively online and on this blog only, I have to admit that this is a refreshing experience.
15. Hired A Programmer Again After 2 Years
Not for me, but it was part of the consulting contract. I thought I lost the skills to hire people, but apparently I didn’t. From the selection phase, going through the interview and negotiation phases, all seemed incredibly familiar. Maybe I should try this again.
16. Been On Board At A Launch48 event
Somehow similar to the StartUp Weekend but with a different logistic approach. Again, I was fortunate enough to see a lot of ideas turned into projects and watch them unfold in a 48 hours time window. Met a lot of interesting persons too.
17. Been On Board Of Venture Connect. Twice
This is a brand new local event (local in respect to the fact that it takes place in Romania, but its audience is international) which aims to match online entrepreneurs with investors. It was an enlightening experience. I evaluated projects, discussed them in the event board and then coached the selected entrepreneurs.
18. Separated From My Ex-wife
Like in a real form, when she moved away, a couple of months ago. While we agreed to part ways even since 2009, I accepted to continue to live together until she finds something suitable for herself. Took incredibly longer than I expected (almost the whole year) and in the process I had some of the most frustrating experiences in my entire life. By far the most challenging situation in 2010 for me and one that I’m incredibly happy I overcame.
19. Got My First Second Hand Car
It’s a Freelander and I am very satisfied with it. Again, switching from an Infiniti FX35 to a Freelander may seem counter intuitive. It isn’t. Not when you plan living your life on two countries, namely Romania and New Zealand. Priorities are changing. Values are changing. I’m far better off with this car.
20. Had My First Mention On An Adult Blog
It’s the blog of Camille Crimson, a Canadian lady who seems to be quite popular in the adult entertainment. The blog post mentioned was again 100 Ways To Live A Better Life. I’m sure men already clicked through the link the moment they saw the “adult” word, so the invitation is for you ladies: go ahead and visit the blog too, you may have something to learn from Camille. 😉
21. Learned How To Starve My Daemons
This is a life long process, I agree, but this year was particularly filled with opportunities on how to learn this. Had to deal with a lot of pressure and some pretty tough challenges. Both in my personal and professional life. But it was, and still is, ok. As long as I don’t feed those daemons.
22. Did Math And Grammar Lessons With My Son
For some of you this may not be worth mentioning as it goes without saying. For me it was important and it still is. Didn’t have much access to my son in the last few years so now I took advantage of every opportunity to spend time with him. Math is difficult, by the way.
23. Got My Posts Proofread By Somebody I Never Met
This was in the trend of “I don’t know who you are but your blog helped me, how can I contribute back”. We did it a number of times until it became obvious for me that I do have to work my English more. But it was a very interesting experience.
24. Learned A Few (More) Things About Toxic Persons
One of them being that many of those persons have no idea they’re toxic. They’re just moving away without looking back at the gas they’re leaving behind. If you think you live with such a person, maybe reading this post will help.
25. Was Happy To Spend Some Time With My 96 Year Old Grandfather
We do have a history of longevity in our family. My father’s father died at 82. My other grandfather, the one I visited, is still fit, walking by himself and being much more lucid than other young people I know. Didn’t spend as much time as I wanted to, but as long as it lasted it was really good.
26. Got Myself An iPad
As always, I tend to be a little late to those gadget parties. I’m not a sucker for gadgets and I solved this problem a few years ago when I decided I am an Apple fanboy and that’s it. Everything else, I’m not interested in. This iPad is fine piece of engineering and user experience. Especially when combined with my own productivity app. 😉
27. Significantly Lowered My Rant Tolerance
One of the things that goes with being a moderately (or not so moderately, some would say) popular blogger is that you become a target. So I received lots of attacks (strangely enough, from only one source, an ex-blogging star from Romania) but somehow I chose not to respond. And felt much better. Go read about your own rant tolerance if you’re curious what this is.
28. Discovered That Everybody Has His Own Book Of Life
Which is sometimes difficult to understand or read. But that didn’t make it less true. Make sure your own book of life is written in a language that others can understand.
29. Implemented A New Exercising And Eating Routine
Which has been going on for the last 3 months. After being a vegetarian and raw vegan, I decided it’s time to try something new, so I’m on a paleo type of diet. It’s based on the fact that our body didn’t have time to adjust to the agricultural revolution which means cereals and dairy are things which are not properly handled, so to speak. So I’m only on vegetables, fruits, seeds and meat. Also, unprocessed food as much as possible but it’s not mandatory.
30. Did My First Podcast
Which is my only podcast to date. But the experience led me to try something new about monetizing my blog and also revealed some stuff about my English accent. Which is interesting, so to speak. If you wanna hear it, go ahead.
31. Sold My First Audio Product
Inspired by some of the feedback I got after the first podcast I created my first audio product. Which actually sells.
32. Attended To An Astrology Workshop
That was a first, although I am an astrology student for more than 5 years now. Had mixed feelings because the structure of the workshop wasn’t quite what I expected. On the other side, I had really insightful conversations with the people involved and made a few interesting new friends.
33. Learned How To Accept My Failures
Up to the point that I identified 6 stages of them. That post soon became so popular that it attracted an entire interview based on it. More on that later, though.
34. Got Beer Money Via Snail Mail
Also a first, and also a sign of appreciation from one of my fellow bloggers out there, the distinguished Jonathan Mead, by his name. Imagine going to the post office, open an envelope from United States and find a 10 dollar bill. For beer. Here’s to you, Jonathan 🙂
35. Realized That I Love The Discomfort Zone
And made peace with that. I always had this tension between living an interesting life and living a comfortable life. A comfortable life may be socially accepted, materially fulfilling and so on. But it’s also boring like hell. An interesting life is hurtful at times, painful or unexpected. But you never get bored.
36. Hit A Glass Wall
With my head, that is. On one of the busiest Bucharest boulevards. And, as far as I remember it was kinds of a rush hour too. So I made the evening of at least a few dozens of people. Even now, every time I remember it, I still stop in the middle of whatever I’m doing and laugh my but at it. Including this time. Read on.
37. Turned Into A Digital Nomad
I always wanted to experience this lifestyle, and last year finally gave me that flavor. Working without a fixed office, but doing exactly what I want to do, and with the highest degree of productivity. Being a digital nomad is all about blending in a mix of opportunities, minimalism and clear goals.
38. Started A Personal War With Frustration
Which, along with anger, is a very legitimate feeling to have. It’s releasing a lot of energy and it’s a clear sign that you do have an opinion about stuff. So frustration is not bad, staying there for too long is bad. So I created my own set of rules, 33 of them, to overcome frustration.
39. Created My Own Minimum Survival Kit
Again, it may not be what you think about, but it may come in useful. It’s based on my experience during a real war, the Romanian Revolution and on some other personal experiences. The post describing this minimum survival kit got quoted on various blogs pretty fast and it also played really nice on social media.
40. Survived To An Ants Invasion
Basically, one morning I woke up to see our house taken over by an aggressive community of ants, with which, until that very morning, we shared peacefully our own backyard. So, assisted by Bianca, my 4 and a half year girl, I had to cope, in a hysterically-bored way, with a rather unstoppable flow of angry and stubborn ants.
41. Exercised My Starting Fresh Strategies
In many ways, 2010 was a turning point for me. Some events were spontaneous, created by my own will, some were imposed on me, so to speak. But almost any major situation I experienced this year was about starting fresh. As usual, a huge list emerged out of this.
42. Saw Inception
Yes, that film was important enough to be mentioned on a list of 77 things I did in 2010. I’m not a hyper when it comes to movies, but this one was different. It still stands out as one of the most interesting video events of the last few years. And one of the most thought-provoking also.
43. Practiced More Care
When it comes to this word, “care”, people have mixed representations of what it means. Yours truly included. So, one of the things I did in 2010 was to explore what this really means for me. Of course, this may sounds strange to mention on a list of 77 things I did, but, to be honest, I don’t really care about others may think. 😉
44. Released The Free Ebook “How To Build Reputation With Your Blog”
Based on a 7 posts series, this ebook proved to be so popular that I might even build an online course based on it. It also was downloaded more than 500 times without no promotion at all, only word of mouth. Or, if you prefer, only based on reputation.
45. Launched The “Assess-Decide-Do: Natural Productivity” Ebook
This is what I like to call the flagship product of the year. Not only because it incorporates many of my personal insights on productivity, but because it’s part of a bigger ecosystem of products, including the iPhone and iPad app, iAdd. The ebook generated more than 1500 USD in sales in the first 3 months. You can still get it here.
46. Witnessed The First Grape In My Vineyward
It’s not a huge vineyard, only 12 roots, but it was planted and taken care of entirely by me. And this summer I saw the first grape in it. It was a huge satisfaction, although I knew from the start the vine is still too young to sustain the grape till maturity. Next year there will be more.
47. Discovered The Power And Price Of Illusions
And the thin line between them. Illusions, both induced or self-created and maintained have a huge power on us. But there is also a huge price to be paid if we play on that side for too long. Also, one of the most popular posts of the year, you can read more about this here.
48. Ate Strawberries From My Own Garden
Another first for my entire life. Those were the tastiest strawberries I ever ate. I had enough supply for at least two weeks and I’m already looking forward for the next spring, to eat them again.
49. Did My First Barbecue On Snow
Just before Christmas and it was absolutely amazing. Spent like half an hour keeping the fire burning on wet woods, but in the end I managed to have one of the best barbecues in my entire life.
50. Created, Managed And Implemented A Live Promotion Event
I used to do this on a regular basis back when I had my own online business, but this time the event was part of the consulting contract I got. It was fun. Not to mention the event involved 4 gorgeous hostess to be, well, taught what they have to say and how to behave. 😉
51. Went To A Steve Vai Concert With My Son
A double first. Seeing a concert with my son and seeing Steve Vai live. I don’t talk much about my musical preferences on this blog (although some people suggest that I should) but you have to know that Steve Vai (and his tutor, Joe Satriani) are ranking quite high among my preferences.
52. Gave My First Presentation On Mobile Development
That was part of the biggest event about the online business in Romania, and the presentation was so much more fun for me because I had no idea I was going to present until just a few hours before the actual event. Of course, I had to improvise, but apparently, people enjoyed it.
53. Got Fiberglass Internet At Home
Again. for some of you this may be nothing. But in the last 3 years the area where I currently live when I’m in Romania was completely isolated from the digital world. I had to rely on 3G radio internet which was only good to (partially) read email, nothing more. I’m actually feeling connected now.
54. Visited A 225 Meters Deep Salt Mine
It’s actually 225 meters under the sea level, but it’s still an amazing place. It’s located close to my home town in Romania, near Ocnele Mari and it has a church, a football field, some restaurants and playgrounds. An amazing (and healing, also) place.
55. Fixed The Roof Of My House
Last winter I witnessed, for the first time in my life, again, how it is to live in a house with a leaking roof. I agree that a thinner roof will bring nature closer to ourselves, but if sleeping on a dry bed is included in the benefits of civilization, than I’d gladly keep the nature only for hiking. By the way, I didn’t fix it myself, the building company did, but it was kinda fun to watch them doing it.
56. Learned Objective C From Scratch
Of course, this is part of the whole iPhone / iPad app thing, but it is something that will last and allow me to build even more apps.
57. Gave My First Live Interview On Skype
It was the one published on Hulbert Lee’s website and I have to admit I was a little bit nervous. But somehow I managed to cope with it. Or so I think. You be the judge of that, listen to it here.
58. Gave My First Live Interview To Another Blogger
Meaning we met in real life although we didn’t know each other before. We talked over a cup of tea and really have a good time. It didn’t feel like an interview. Technically this happened in 2010, but I guess it would be published in 2011.
59. Learned Lua – The Programming Language
It’s not something that is extremely difficult and I think for a seasoned programmer this won’t take more than 2 afternoons to master. Lua is an extremely simple programming language and it was used to code my first iPhone app, a (silly) game of flipping tiles.
60. Gave My First Astrological Readings
Surprisingly enough, these were delivered to people working on some of the shared offices I use every now and then. So it was a rather technical audience. I was a little bit surprised myself that those readings were so successful (I think I did at least 7 or 8) but the fact that they were pro bono may have had something to do with that.
61. Witnessed My First Posts With More than 150.000 Visits
It’s about, in order 33 Ways To Get And Mantain Motivation, 33 Ways To Start Your Day and 100 Ways To Live A Better Life. All have between 155.000 and 165.000 unique visits so far. That proves once again that the Internet is a medium which favors lists as the most efficient way of spreading information.
62. Witnessed More Than 9000 Downloads Of My Products
Most of them are trial versions of my books or the free ebooks I released this year. When I sit down and think for a second, 9000 seems like an unreal number for a personal blog. If you want to know what I’m talking about, go ahead and visit my downloads page.
63. Self-Published 5 Of My Ebooks
I used CreateSpace for the task, which makes the ebooks available on Amazon.com too, at no additional cost. The whole self–publishing process was extremely tedious, but once I got my head around it, things were really smooth. You can see the ebooks (and even buy one, if you want) at my Amazon.com author page.
64. Got iAdd Featured 3 Times In AppStore
Once you get into the Apple ecosystem you learn that they will do the heavy marketing stuff for you. And that includes promoting your app. But what was different this time it was that my app was still the product of an indie developer, (myself and I), and that the productivity apps market is a pretty crowded one on the AppStore.
65. Kept The Longest Promotion On The Internet Running
It’s a promotion which involves the delivery of monthly promo codes for a some fine Mac apps, including Mac Journal, my blogging tool of choice. This promotion was running with the same structure (only the discounts increased) for more than 2 years.
66. Lost 4 Kilos
It happened in exactly 365 days. I find this encouraging. If I keep the pace, that will give me approximately 23 years until I will vanish completely. Joke aside, it all went away because I kept a strict exercising and dieting routine. A much more socially friendly than the raw vegan diet I experienced last year.
67. Watched Bianca Writing Her Name For The First Time
With a little bit of Klingonian calligraphy, I suppose, as the letters are still a little bit hard to recognize, but it’s the real thing. Also, remembered how was to witness this for my first kid, Victor, almost 8 years ago.
68. Got Stuck In Snow 4 Times In Less Than 48 Hours
Last winter was a incredibly hard. Although I had a quite powerful car at that time (Infiniti FX 35, that is), I still manage to get snowed. Last time it happened, nobody could get me out of that white snow hole, except for a white horse, driven by a bunch pf gipsies. Crazy.
69. Started A Discussion For A Tony Robbins Event In Romania
Noticing happened, unfortunately, but I think there’s still time. Also, working with his Italy subcontractors team was a very interesting experience. I learned a lot about the internal business structure of these events and also a lot about the business and promotion side of the whole package.
70. Got Snowed, Cut Off From The World And Missed A Plane To Rome
Part of the “got stuck in snow saga” from above. The only thing that stayed between me and a plane to Rome was one kilometer of snowed road. One and a half meter high snow, to be more precise. Impossible to overcome. Well, maybe next year. First time I missed a plane.
71. Completely Soaked Into Avatar
There are very few fictional stories that are making an impact on me, but Avatar was one of these. Along with Inception, it became one of my favorite mental escape destinations. From the story, to the colors and execution, everything worked to brutally extract me from this world and project me into a new planet, called Pandora. I still keep my feet on the ground, though, and I’m not gonna suffer any depression because of it, rest assured about that.
72. Got Rid Of My Physical Library Of Books
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a big fan of reading and books, but my library became more of a burden than an asset. So part of it was simply gave away, part of it sold by the kilo to a big used books store in Bucharest. Downshifting means getting lighter, not heavier. And I know those books will serve other people at least as much as they served me too.
73. Settled For A Jet In 5 Years
Whatever you may say about owning and flying your own jet, I don’t care. I just want to have that experience, that’s all. I even know the make and model of my future jet. Yes, I know the price is 18 million dollars and I know I don’t have any of that money. Yet. And I still don’t care. Because that’s how goal setting works.
74. Became An Early Riser
It’s not about the time when you get up, but mostly about making this a lifestyle. This year I made a habit of waking up early and doing a lot of stuff until the normal routine kicks in. I had some hickups too, mainly when I was out partying, but the good thing is that I always got back on track.
75. Hosted My Son’s Blog
It’s just a typical teenage blog where he writes about music and whatever crosses his mind. I’m completely blown by the fact that a 13 years old can have a blog. I didn’t have one. This world is moving too fast.
76. Been Part Of Many Collaborative Projects
This was the first time I got so soaked into this type of projects and I’m really happy I did it. Not only I met a lot of nice people, but I exercised a little outside of my comfort zone, which is my own blog. You can find more about these on my about me page.
We do take for granted the mere fact that we live. Being through one of the most difficult years of my life (read below more about that) proved me again that survival should be taught in schools. I’m happy I lived through this year. I learned and experienced tremendously, although it seems my lessons were mostly on the dark side, this time.
Now, I agree that some things from this post may have lure you to the idea that is all about “how much you get done”. Nothing more wrong than that. Every number from above is nothing but a mark on a path. What is really worth is the journey, not the marks on the path. And I enjoyed the hell out of this journey.
It may have been the toughest year I had, that’s true. If I’d have to choose a year close to this one, in terms of the number and amplitude of challenges, that would be 1989, when I was caught in the middle of a war. Maybe you couldn’t see anything on the surface, because I was able to keep the blog going on, but deep down I experienced some of the most challenging events in my entire life. My deepest identity sense was on the stake. It was hurtful and downright painful at times. But in the last couple of months I started to experience healing too. It’s like a lot of the images I had about myself vanished away. What was left was something mysterious even to me.
I’m just starting to discover it.
And one thing I’m sure of, regardless of the direction my life will take: I will continue to share my trip for as long as I think there will be something useful, motivating or inspiring for other people.
To make their journey brilliantly better.
Running For My Life - from zero to ultramarathoner
The spooky thing about depression is that it sneaks in. There aren’t really trumpets and loud voices announcing: “Hail, hail, this is depression entering the room, all rise!” Nope. It’s slow, silent, creepy. It doesn’t even look like depression. It starts with small isolation thoughts like: “Maybe I shouldn’t get out today, I just don’t feel like going out”. And then it does the same next day. And then the day after that and so on. And then it starts to whisper louder and louder in your ears: “Why would you go outside, you loser? Didn’t have enough yet? Want more people to make fun of how much of a big, fat loser you are?”
And then you start to breath in guilt and shame, instead of air. Every breathe you take is putting more dark thoughts into your body.
Until you get stuck. You can’t move anymore. At all.
If you want to know how I got out of this space, eventually, check out my latest book on Amazon and Kindle.